Being Thankful is a Virtue


By Linda Fisher Thornton

Cicero’s quote reminds us that if we want to act on the important virtues that create a just society, we must first see the world with a thankful heart. 

Why is seeing the world with a thankful heart so important?

It helps us think beyond ourselves.

It keeps us aware of the good that others do for us.

It helps us consider our wants and needs with an attitude of plenty.

Today, may you go about your appointed rounds with a thankful heart. 

If you want to learn more about how thankfulness can be transformational, Jeff Haden shares 40 Inspiring Motivational Quotes About Gratitude with us at


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Prepare Your Leaders For Ethical Leadership Future – Help Them Learn To See Through The 7 Lenses®. 

Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership®

©2015 Leading in Context LLC

What Are You Talking About (Ethically Speaking)?


By Linda Fisher Thornton

There are many layers of meaning in ethics conversations. How far down are you going? Do you stop at surface messages or do you dig into real problems? See if you can find your ethics conversations below:

Layers of Ethical Conversation



Corporate Messages

Marketing Slogans

Posters About Ethics and Integrity


Ethics Codes

Ethics Training


Tackling Real-Life Dilemmas That Are Difficult To Handle

How to Apply Ethics Expectations in Grey Areas and Between the Lines

What We Do Around Here When We Don’t Know the Right Thing to Do


Don’t lock down the ethics conversation at Surface and Standards. The level of Reality is where your employees want to talk about ethics. Don’t believe it? Just ask them. 

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Prepare Your Leaders For Ethical Leadership Future – Help Them Learn To See Through The 7 Lenses®. 

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©2015 Leading in Context LLC


Do Differences of Opinion Set Off Your Threat Detector?

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Differences of opinion can be inconvenient and uncomfortable. We may be in a discussion with someone who has very different views from ours, on a topic of great importance to us. How we handle it shows others the inner workings of our character.

We have all been in conversations with people who are open to hearing what we have to say and those who are not. When we perceive an idea as a threat, it may be a signal that we are CLOSED to learning. And that may lead us right into unethical territory, to disrespectful interpersonal behavior. 

As you review these descriptions, think about your recent conversations. Was the other person OPEN or CLOSED to learning? Did they perceive a difference of opinion as a threat or an opportunity to learn?

Sees a Difference of Opinion as a Threat

  • Different ideas are direct threats to my position
  • When we disagree, only one of us can be right
  • Listening to dissenting opinions is dangerous and should be avoided
  • People who disagree with my position should be belittled and put in their place to reduce their power

Sees It as a Learning Opportunity

  • Different ideas are opportunities to learn
  • When we disagree, we might both be describing different parts of a bigger concept
  • Listening doesn’t mean we have to change our beliefs, but we are open to that if it happens
  • Listening to dissenting opinions increases our understanding of issues we care about

Ethical leadership requires us to respect people and differences of perspective even when those differences may make us uncomfortable. 

Override your threat detection system when you hear information that goes against your current views.

If differences of opinion set off our “threat detection” system and make us angry, that may be a sign that we are closed to learning. I have noticed over the years that perceiving the ideas of others as a threat is signal that we need to listen. 

This week, notice what sets off your threat detection system, and see what you can learn when you choose to override it and remain open to learning.

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Prepare Your Leaders For Ethical Leadership Future – Help Them Learn To See Through The 7 Lenses®. 

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“Is It Ethical?” (Decision Tool Based on the Book 7 Lenses)


By Linda Fisher Thornton

A new ethical decision-making tool is available for readers of 7 Lenses! If you have read the book and want to take your decision-making to a higher level of complexity, visit the new 7 Lenses Tools page. You’ll find the decision-making worksheet “Is it Ethical?” based on the book.

So often decisions are made based on cost or convenience without considering the full ethical impact. This new 7 Lenses® decision-making worksheet guides you through all 7 Lenses of Ethical Leadership to get the full picture.

It’s important to think long term about our leadership impact (from 7 different perspectives). When we fully consider the impact of our choices, we can make decisions that meet our own needs and the needs of others and society.

Use this tool for informing:

  • your individual decisions
  • group decision-making conversations
  • coaching and mentoring other leaders

My hope is that “Is It Ethical?” will help you honor all 7 Lenses in your daily leadership. Leaders who are using the 7 Lenses® framework tell me that there is a startling clarity in this approach and that having this framework for understanding ethical responsibility is transforming their leadership and changing their lives in positive ways.

Please share your story with other readers – How is the 7 Lenses® framework helping you stay grounded in ethical values? How is it improving your decision making? How is it changing your daily leadership? 


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Take Positive Action When You See Unethical Leadership

By Linda Fisher Thornton

While I specialize in positive, proactive ethical leadership, I frequently get asked questions about unethical leadership. In particular, readers ask about the damage that toxic leaders do in organizations and what situations and circumstances lead to ethical failures.

While we need to stay focused on the positive, preventive aspects of our leadership, understanding what not to do can also help us stay within the boundaries of positive ethical leadership. Today I’m sharing posts that describe what leadership looks like when it is unethical.

These articles include details about what not to do: 

What is Unethical Leadership?

Can A Toxic Leader Be Ethical? Yes and No

Is Over-Solving Problems Unethical?

Is Needing To Be Right Unethical?

Is Refusing to Change Unethical?

What Causes Ethical Failures?

What Are Signs Of Unethical Leadership and Low Trust?

Is Failing To Honor Boundaries Unethical?

40 Ethical Culture Gaps to Avoid

“We can no longer evaluate a person’s leadership solely on results while ignoring the negative ripple effect created by interpersonal behavior choices. It’s time to see toxic leadership for what it really is – stress creating, inappropriate, negative, unethical leadership.”

Linda Fisher Thornton, Leading in Context Blog, Can a Toxic Leader Be Ethical? Yes and No.

If you recognize any of these signs of unethical behavior or toxic leadership in your organization, don’t wait. Take positive action now. 

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Includes compelling graphics, guiding principles, case examples and questions.   Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership®

©2015 Leading in Context LLC

Are You Approachable?

By Linda Fisher Thornton

The pace of change is out of control in the workplace. Have any of you learned more than three new software programs this week? Have you had to deliver on a deadline in spite of being completely new to a project? Have you struggled to get the attention of colleagues when you need their input, only to find that they are too busy to make the time to meet?

Leaders, if you are struggling to deal with the pace of change, how do you think your employees feel? One of the most critical things you can do is be accessible when they need you. If they get stuck, they need to be able to ask questions. And get stuck they will. It’s inevitable.

Your work is dependent on others, and your employees are even farther from the answers than you are. They need to be able to count on your availability and support. 

As fast as we are all moving, we need to realize that we are part of a connected chain of information, processes and people. Knowing that a manager is available to help can make a critical difference to employees – not just in performance, but also in engagement and morale. 

Employees count on you to be approachable. Don’t be like the prickly cactus, daring others to approach at their own risk.


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Prepare Your Leaders For Ethical Leadership Future – Help Them Learn To See Through The 7 Lenses®. 

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   Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership®

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What is Positive Leadership?



By Linda Fisher Thornton

Positive leadership is a new term that is popping up regularly in articles. What does it mean? What kind of leadership do we describe as positive?

What is Positive Leadership?

Positive leaders stay grounded in ethical values and use a human growth mindset. They are fixed and flexible at the same time, never straying from ethics but always willing to change with the times. 

The Basis?    Positive Ethical Values

The Assumption?    People Will Do Amazing Things if We Intentionally Bring Out Their Best

The Goal?  Lead in Ways That Bring Out People’s Best Capabilities

The Culture?   Respectful, Transparent and Supportive

The Leadership?   Encouraging, Available, Contributing to People’s Success and Well-Being, Helping People Be Co-Owners of the Organization’s Success, Helping Them Learn and Grow, Helping Them Reach Their Potential.

The Interactions?   Net Positive (Many more positive than negative interactions)

Positive leaders extend a welcome to all stakeholders and help them discover their possibilities, capabilities and contributions.

What is the essence of being a positive leader? Focusing on the best in others while working on becoming the best of ourselves. 

Learn More: 

The Impact of Positive Leadership, Gallup Business Journal

Positive Organizational Behavior in the Workplace: The Impact of Hope, Optimism and Resilience, Carolyn M. Youssef, Fred Luthans, University of Nebraska-Lincoln,

The Power of Positive Communication, The University of Arizona

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Prepare Your Leaders For Ethical Leadership Future – Help Them Learn To See Through The 7 Lenses®. 

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What is Research?


By Linda Fisher Thornton

What is research? The answer depends on your perspective. Some people believe the definition is very narrow, and only if you “do it right” in the scientific sense does it meet the requirements of proper research. Others believe that research includes paying attention to messages from all areas of our lives and using that information to achieve insight and understanding. I believe that there is merit in both interpretations. Here are some very interesting thoughts on how to define research:

“If we knew what we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”    

Albert Einstein

“What is research but a blind date with knowledge?”    

Will Harvey

“In true education, anything that comes to our hand is as good as a book: the prank of a page-boy, the blunder of a servant, a bit of table talk – they are all part of the curriculum.”   

Michel de Montaigne

“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying without a purpose.”

Zora Neale Hurston

“Research is creating new knowledge.”

Neil Armstrong

Why is this question important? I believe that we gain understanding of sub-parts and elements of a problem by doing formal scientific research. Limiting ourselves to formal research within one field, though, may not provide insights into solutions that work well with interconnected systems and globally compounded problems. 

When I was researching my book 7 Lenses, I didn’t find a clear definition of ethical leadership by looking within the discipline of ethical leadership. Only by looking across multiple disciplines and noticing patterns and trends was I able to find clarity. 

The word “research” originated in the late 1500’s and originally meant “to seek” or “to search” in Middle French ( I believe that we gain an understanding of the whole picture by taking in a broad array of information in the course of our lives. Without that kind of awareness, we are destined to understand the small pieces but miss the connections and the greater meaning. 

Think about how you would define “research.” Is your definition narrow, broad or both? 

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Webinar “Leading For the Future”


By Linda Fisher Thornton

Many leaders wonder how to prepare for an uncertain future – one that is filled with complexity, changing expectations and an increasing global awareness about ethical responsibility.

On October 13, 2015 I will be presenting a webinar for CUPA-HR (College and University Professional Association For Human Resources) that explores strategies for helping leaders and organizations prepare. Below is a description of the Webinar and a link for registering to attend. 

“Leading For the Future: Responding to Increasing Ethical Expectations”

Expectations for responsible leadership are increasing, and any ethical mistakes can be highly visible on social media. University administrators and faculty members must adapt to this new high-visibility environment, and HR can help through leadership development programs and by having an understanding of what it takes to sustain an ethical culture. 

During this webinar, you’ll hear about trends in ethical leadership and gain an awareness of the level of ethical leadership that is expected in a global society. You’ll get an introduction to the 7 Lenses® model — a kaleidoscopic view of ethical leadership described in Linda Fisher Thornton’s book 7 Lenses. You will learn about ethical culture as a human performance system aligned around positive ethical values. You’ll also walk away with practical strategies for building a proactive ethical culture and helping your institution’s leaders stay ahead of increasing ethical expectations.

Presenter: Linda Fisher Thornton

Chief Executive Officer, Leading in Context LLC and

Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Richmond SPCS

I hope you’ll join me to learn more about how to prepare for the future of leadership. You can register for the free webinar at this link: CUPA-HR Leading For The Future Webcast.


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Prepare Your Leaders For Ethical Leadership Future – Help Them Learn To See Through 7 Lenses®.  

Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership®

©2015 Leading in Context LLC

Imperfectly Human


By Linda Fisher Thornton

We are all imperfectly human.   We make mistakes. We do things that aren’t responsible.

Yes we ALL do things that aren’t responsible at times. If you think you’re exempt, let me ask you this. Have you never crept even one mile per hour over the speed limit? Have you never crossed the street outside of the marked cross walk? Have you never said something hurtful to another person?

Yes, we’re all imperfectly human. We need to plan ahead, to prepare ourselves for the moments when we may  be tempted to fall into imperfect behavior.

When we want to learn to drive a car, we learn safe and courteous driving rules. We practice driving for many hours on the road. We get feedback from experienced drivers and improve our driving over time. We eventually pass a driving test and are cleared to drive.

That leads me to wonder if we are preparing our leaders as carefully, or if we sometimes throw them into situations they are not prepared to handle. Do we give our “new leaders” the careful preparation we give new drivers? 

Are our leaders cleared to LEAD? 

Leaders do not think they are well prepared according the Ready-Now Leaders: DDI Global Leadership Forecast 2014-2015, which reports that “the overwhelming majority of leaders are still saying they are not satisfied with their organization’s development offerings.” Only “37% of leaders rated the quality of their organization’s development programs as high or very high.”

So where do we go from here?

Failing to prepare leaders for what they’ll face is not just potentially bad for their success, it’s also an ethical problem for their employees and for the organization. Without tools for handling complex challenges, people may make more mistakes than they need to. Some of those mistakes can be costly to the leader’s future and the organization’s reputation.

If we want leaders to be ready to handle the steep learning curve and the tough challenges that come with the job, we’ll need to do these things:

  • Help them handle the complexity that is a reality in their day-to-day leadership.
  • S-T-R-E-T-C-H them to help them prepare for the challenges they face as leaders in a global society.
  • Make them aware of their own mindsets and assumptions.
  • Build a sturdy culture based on positive ethical values.
  • Teach them how to PREVENT ethical problems, not just how to cope with them if they happen.
  • Show them how to add value for multiple constituents and think beyond themselves.
  • Provide clear support for ethical choices at all levels in the organization, including the C-Suite.
  • Make trust building a leadership priority.

Ask them if they’re ready

Ask your leaders how well prepared they think they are and listen carefully to their answers. Preparing leaders for success today requires much more than simply providing a training program and a handbook. It requires leadership development designed for people who are imperfectly human. 

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© 2013 Leading in Context LLC

© 2013 Leading in Context LLC




Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership®

©2015 Leading in Context LLC



40 Ways to Build an Ethical Culture (An Ethical To Do List)


By Linda Fisher Thornton

Last week I blogged about 40 Ethical Culture Gaps to Avoid. This week, I’m sharing a ‘What To Do” list of 40 Ways to Build an Ethical Culture. This list includes many ways to incorporate ethical values into daily organizational leadership. 

Each one of these 40 Ways to Build an Ethical Culture can improve an organization. Leaders paying attention to all of these factors will reap rewards that include improved employee engagement, better financial performance, increased productivity and job satisfaction, improved competitive position and more.

Use this “ethical to do list” to assess your culture. Put a check mark beside the positive ethical actions that you have observed in your organization. Any that you leave unchecked are opportunities for improvement.

40 Ways to Build an Ethical Culture

  1. ___Avoid Harm To a Wide Variety of Constituents
  2. ___Balance Ethics With Profitability and Results
  3. ___Carefully Build and Protect Trust
  4. ___Choose the Ethical Path, Even if Competitors Aren’t
  5. ___Clarify What “Ethical” Means in the Organization
  6. ___Clear Code of Ethics
  7. ___Clear Messages About Ethics and Values
  8. ___Commitment to Protecting the Planet
  9. ___Consistently Demonstrate Care and Respect for People
  10. ___Decision-Making Carefully Incorporates Ethics
  11. ___Develop Leaders in How To Implement Proactive Ethical Leadership
  12. ___Do Business Sustainably
  13. ___Enforce Ethical Expectations
  14. ___Embrace Corporate Social Responsibility
  15. ___Engaging and Relevant Ethics Training and Messages (Not The Same Old Boring Stuff)
  16. ___Ethical Actions Match Ethical Marketing
  17. ___Frequent Conversations About Ethics (That Honor Work Complexity)
  18. ___Full Accountability for Ethics At Every Level Including the C-Suite
  19. ___High Degree of Transparency
  20. ___Leaders Aware of Increasing Ethical Expectations
  21. ___Leaders Stay Competent as Times Change
  22. ___Open Leadership Communication and Invitation to Participate in Decisions
  23. ___Open, Supportive Leadership
  24. ___Performance Guidelines and Boundaries For Behavior
  25. ___Performance System Fully Integrated With Ethical Expectations
  26. ___Positive Ethical Role Models
  27. ___Recognize and Praise Ethical Actions
  28. ___Recognize and Punish Unethical Actions
  29. ___Safe Space to Discuss Ethical Grey Areas
  30. ___Set Ethical Boundaries
  31. ___Strong Commitment to Improving Leadership and Culture
  32. ___Take Broad Responsibility For Actions
  33. ___Think Long Term About Our Impact
  34. ___Treat Ethics as an Ongoing Priority
  35. ___Treat People With Care
  36. ___Use the Precautionary Principle
  37. ___Use Systems Thinking to See the Big Picture
  38. ___Values Mindset (Not A Compliance Mindset)
  39. ___Welcome and Act on Feedback From Constituents
  40. ___Willing to Do What it Takes to Become an Ethical Organization

When ethical culture is carefully tended, we are poised to meet the increasing expectations of our many stakeholders. Use this checklist of 40 Ways to Build an Ethical Culture to identify your organization’s current strengths and opportunities for improvement.

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©2015 Leading in Context LLC


Leader Development 2015: Human Growth Required

By Linda Fisher Thornton

When we want to prepare leaders for success in the trenches of business leadership, we don’t get very far by providing a cushy “spa-like experience.” We can easily focus too much on creating “events” for leader education and miss the much deeper preparation that leaders need.

What prepares leaders to handle their tough everyday challenges? Their success requires much more than knowledge building. It requires rewiring mindsets and developing new capacities. The best way to do that is through experiences that lead to real human growth. Leadership development should stretch leaders and help them develop the capacity to handle bigger challenges. These recent reports describe the need for leaders to stretch into new capabilities:

Josh Bersin, in his article “Spending on Corporate Training Soars: Employee Capabilities Now a Priority” says that “Global leadership gaps continue to be the most pressing issues on the minds of business and HR leaders.” 

Nick Petrie of the Center For Creative Leadership notes that “This is no longer just a leadership challenge (what good leadership looks like); it is a development challenge (the process of how to grow “bigger” minds). (Future Trends in Leadership Development,

The Wall Street Journal article “How to Develop Future Leaders” says that “Stretch assignments are growth-oriented exercises with some inherent risk. They’re designed to push participants past their skill level.”

“Leadership today is more than what you know. It requires the ability to adapt and respond to different circumstances and to connect with different kinds of employees, including employees of different ages and different cultural backgrounds” according to HBR Publishing “What the Future Demands: The Growing Challenge of Global Leadership Development” by Mercer and Oliver Wyman.

We are preparing leaders to handle a high degree of complexity and we need for them to consistently make ethical choices. At its best, leadership development is not an “event.” It’s a capacity-building endeavor. It’s a process of human growth and development.

Leaders must become capable of imagining more, doing and being more, and enabling others to accomplish more in challenging times. Only human growth will get them there.

Recent Leading in Context Honors:

CEO Linda Fisher Thornton in Global CEO’s TOP 100 CSR LEADERS and on Jeff Haden’s Inc. list of “100 Great Leadership Speakers For Your Next Conference” 

7 Lenses won an Axiom Business Book Award and Achieved a Top 100 Best Seller Rank in the “Ethics” category in the Kindle Store (June, 2014)

7 Lenses Used by Major U.S. Universities To Teach Leadership, Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

Over 80 Media Mentions in 2014 Including BBC-Capital and The Globe and Mail

And the greatest honor of all – Followers and Friends From 182 Countries (WordPress year-end report 12/31/14)


Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership™                  

@leadingincontxt  @7Lenses
  7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
  2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
  About 7 Lenses
©2014 Leading in Context LLC

5 Powerful Trends in Ethical Consumerism

20131120_112448By Linda Fisher Thornton

Customers are not separate from businesses any more – they are becoming part of the fabric of organizations in ways that meet their very specific needs. This week I describe 5 powerful trends in ethical consumerism that are changing the rules of business. To keep up with these trends, leaders will need a heightened level of ethical awareness and the ability to think ethically on many levels.

1. Customers want companies to build ethics into their brands.

 “In the pursuit of the nirvana that is GUILT-FREE CONSUMPTION, consumers are looking for brands to make SACRIFICES (so they don’t have to).” Report Brand Sacrifice, October 2014

2. Customers are increasingly involved in brand marketing and promotion.

“Your consumer is your marketer.” 

PBS Frontline, Generation Like

3. Customers expect companies to care not just about their well-being, but also about society and the planet.

“Growing numbers of consumers can no longer escape an awareness of the damage done by their consumption: to the planet, society, or themselves.”

7 Consumer Trends to Run With in 2014, Trendwatching,com


4. Customers don’t want to be “talked at.” They want a deeper connection. Empathy is what customers crave.

“In 2014 we’ll hear more executives talk about the need to build empathy for customers…”

Bruce Temkin, Temkin Group, 14 Customer Experience Trends For Marketing 2014 at


5. Customers are increasingly focused on health and well-being and seek companies and products that care.

“Many are aware that healthy eating can improve quality of life and extend longevity. Also, many are discovering food sensitivities and are looking to purchase “free from” products.”

The Top 10 Global Consumer Trends For 2014, Euromonitor International


These are powerful consumer trends that will drive business success in 2015 and beyond. This is the terrain of business leadership future, and it requires heightened ethical awareness and proactive ethical leadership. Get ready for business conversations that integrate ethics into all aspects of product development, customer service, marketing and leadership.

Business is changing. Let us know how Leading in Context can help you prepare.



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©2014 Leading in Context LLC

What is Integrity? Beyond “I’ll Know It When I See It”

20140821_143302By Linda Fisher Thornton

During the recent 2014 NeuroLeadership Summit, Jamil Zaki (an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stanford) talked about an interesting experiment the Stanford Neuroscience Lab did. The team took a large number of Fortune 100 statements of company values and generated a word cloud from them to see which word would appear most often. Which word was it? Integrity was the most frequently used word. This experiment reveals a general agreement that integrity is important, but what exactly does it mean? People may understand it in very different ways.

The word integrity evolved from the Latin adjective integer, meaning whole or complete.[3] In this context, integrity is the inner sense of “wholeness” deriving from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. As such, one may judge that others “have integrity” to the extent that they act according to the values, beliefs and principles they claim to hold.

Wikipedia, Definition of Integrity

Following this definition, integrity is the alignment of our thoughts, actions and words with our personal values.  The tricky thing about integrity in organizations is that integrity is partly internal (what we think) and partly external (what we say and do).

When we demonstrate integrity, what we think, say and do are all aligned. But aligned with what?

I think that something that many organizations include in the concept of “integrity” is good moral character. People with good character would be morally aware and ethically competent. This leads me to ask some important questions:

Do your leaders know which values you want them to act on when they “Use the highest integrity in all that they do?”

Do they know what those values look like?

Do they know how to honor them while balancing the needs of multiple stakeholders?

Without clarity about the ethical values we should honor in our work, integrity is individually interpreted, based on the personal values of each leader. To help them lead ethically at a high level, though, we need to answer a deeper question  – “Which ethical values should we uphold in what we think, say and do?”

Are your leaders crystal clear about which ethical values are most important to your organization?

If your leaders are all perfectly clear about which high level ethical values to uphold and how to demonstrate them, you are probably incorporating complexity into your leadership development. You are also probably providing leaders with the level of detail about ethical values that they need to navigate through information overload, constant change and demands from multiple stakeholders. If not, you may be rolling the dice by taking an “I’ll know it when I see it” approach to ethics.

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For more, see 7 Lenses  and the related 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2014 Leading in Context LLC 


3 Factors That Numb Ethics Efforts (And 3 That Energize Them)

2013-08-06 18.38.33

By Linda Fisher Thornton

To build a strong ethical culture, leaders should take a positive, preventive approach to ethics. That would include communicating clear ethical values and expectations and quickly stopping any unethical behavior. But those things are not enough by themselves. There are cultural factors that either enable our prevention efforts or disable them. Understanding these factors helps us build an ethical culture. Here are three enabling factors (that support proactive ethics) and three numbing factors (that disable our proactive ethics efforts).

Numbing Factors

Numbing factors act as an ethical dampening field, disabling the natural systems that would prevent and identify ethical risks. The presence of any of these factors numbs people to proactive ethics, and makes it harder for people to want to protect the organization’s ethical reputation.


Ethical Incompetence 

Lack of Trust

Fear (Often Generated By Leaders Using Negative Interpersonal Behaviors)

Enabling Factors

Enabling factors act as ethical boosters, fueling the natural systems that prevent  and identify ethical risks. The presence of any of them boosts the organization toward proactive ethics, and makes it easier to prevent ethical problems from happening.


Proactive Values-Based Leadership

Trust-Building (Including Showing Respect and Care)

“Safe Space” to Talk About Ethical Issues

Which Way is Your Organization Headed?

By cultivating enabling factors, you are setting the stage for the team to work together, actively protecting the organization’s ethics. If you have numbing factors within your organization, be aware that the dampening field that they create will reduce the effectiveness of your positive ethics efforts. 

“Ethical culture” is a complex system. To support the health of the system, maximize enabling factors and eliminate numbing factors.


Follow the Leading in Context Blog for weekly posts that help you Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership™


For more, see 7 Lenses  and the related 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2014 Leading in Context LLC 


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